In what order do you set up your bass?

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by FalsehoodBass, Aug 25, 2001.

  1. FalsehoodBass


    Jul 22, 2001
    Denver, CO
    Hey.. yesterday i had to take my bridge apart to clean it and i had to set up my bass again... i was just wondering what order you all set up your basses.. mine ended up going like this

    Tune open strings/harmonics
    Intonate (12th fret)
    Set string height/ Action at bridge
    Intonate again
    Tune again

    I was just wondering if there was better order to do this in... thanks for any suggestions.
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    This is how I do it:

    1. set up neck relief

    2. set up action @ bridge

    3. set up intonation @ bridge saddles.

    I do a brief tuning before and after every step.
    REAL tuning during after step 3.

    IMO it's useless to set up intonation before you completed the first two setup procedures.
  3. FalsehoodBass


    Jul 22, 2001
    Denver, CO
    by neck relief, you mean truss rod adjustment right? How do you do that when you haven't set the string height from the saddles? Im very afraid to touch my truss rod, and am curious as to how I should go about it.
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    You just press down one string at the first and the last fret simultaneously and check the height at the 9th fret. It should be between 1.5 and 2.5 mm.
    So you can see that the action doesn't matter here.

    When you turn the trussrod, it'S easier to do it when the strings are detuned at least a little, so the rod doesn't have to work against the string tension.

    Turn the trussrod only a 1/4-turn at a time and let it settle until the next day.
    Turning clockwise (when looking on the top of the trussrod screw) will straighten the neck. Counter-clockwise will loosen the rod, so the neck bow increases.
  5. my order :

    1) clean bass ( dust )
    2) set neck relief with old strings
    3) remove old strings
    4) clean fretboard
    5) put on new strings
    6) raw tuning
    7) saddle height
    8) leave bass alone for hour or so for the strings to settle
    9) tune more acurate
    10) intonation
    11) polish bass
    12) enjoy :D
  6. FalsehoodBass


    Jul 22, 2001
    Denver, CO
    jmx... thankyou very much for that information.. i've read my manuals countless times but i don' t believe I've ever read that.... I'm going to go out and buy a feeler gauge and do this tomorrow... thanks again.
  7. bizzaro


    Aug 21, 2000
    I find it hard to hold a feeler gauge and the strings down and all that when setting neck relief. I use a capo on the first fret and hold the string down on the last fret. I use guitar strings and just slip them between the fret and the string. I usually check 7 and 9. I like my relief pretty flat so I use a .010 and .013. I make sure the .010 slips through and the .013 has resistence. I use to use a flat type feeler gauge and it was really hard to do accurately. I recommend the wire type feeler guage if you feel you need one. Also if you are tightening your truss rod and nothing is happening, don't keep cranking on it. :eek: STOP!!! Have it looked at. A whole turn over the course of a few days is a really "big" adjustment on a truss rod that was adjusted and is working properly. :D
  8. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    don't start intonating until you have the action set the way you like it. then intonate, and if you do it properly, the bass will be in tune already when you're done.
  9. FalsehoodBass


    Jul 22, 2001
    Denver, CO
    ok.... that was my origonal idea.. but here's my problem... when i put new strings on, I put my thumb on the string right in front of the saddle and press down, so the string doesn't arch over the saddle.. it makes the string lay flat over the saddle but it also creases the string... so if i were to pull the saddle back any farther (as in intonating) the crease would be in the vibrating part of the string.. which IMO can't be a good thing... I could use old strings.. but i didn't have that foresight... do you do this? depressing the strings over the saddle... i thought it was a good idea... thanks for any help.....
  10. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    FB, I wouldn't recommend breaking the string down over the bridge rollers but it should always be broken down over the nut when replacing strings.

    When you break it down over the saddle it forces the winding closed on the bottom and open on top of the string.

    If you have to lengthen the string in the intonation step, the loosened winding will end up in the vibrating portion of the string. Not conducive to long string life.

    If you fail to break it over the nut the instrument will usually intonate high on the first and to a lesser degree, the second fret.

    Also as JT pointed out in another thread, The witness point where the string goes across the nut may not be exactly at the edge of the nut. Can also cause some wierd buzz problems.